## Saturday, December 21, 2013

### From Our Home to Your Home (or The Carol of the Mop)

Happy Holidays, gentle readers!  Have you missed me?  Of course, you have!  And what have I been doing?  Preparing for the Yuletide visit of my dearest sister, my darned adorable niece, and my quite wonderful brother-in-law!  How am I preparing? Oh, I'm so glad you asked! I have been cleaning and cleaning and decorating and cleaning and cooking and cleaning and trimming and cleaning and buying more things with which to, well, clean.

Anyway, I have written a Christmas carol to inspire myself in this endless task, and I have been singing it at full voice at 2am while polishing...everything.  Enjoy!

Rockin' around the Christmas tree
In my jammies with a mop.
The cobwebs hung where you could see,
Every corner at the top.
Rockin' around the Christmas tree,
Let the dust rag rub and swing,
Later I'll have some deep red wine,
And I’ll do some vacuuming.

You will get a slightly queasy feeling as you near,
Nostrils flaring, "Oh, by golly,
Bleach and Lysol drown out holly!"
Rockin' around the Christmas tree,
Have a spotless holiday,
Everything scrubbed and organized,
For part of one whole day!

## Sunday, December 15, 2013

### Brief Conversation with Mom: Principles of Organization

Mom:  "Which stocking is Isabella's?"

Me:  "The one in the middle."

Mom:  "I can't remember that.  We need to put names on them."

Me:  "No, we don't.  I alphabetized them."

Mom:  "No you did not.  You cannot alphabetize Christmas stockings!"

Me:  "Yes, you can.  They go from left to right:  Gretchen, Isabella, Peter."

Mom:  "That is the stupidest thing I ever heard.  Did you alphabetize all of the decorations?"

Me:  "Of course not.  Some are organized by irony."

Mom:  "By what?"

Me:  "Irony.  It's why the Christmas mice are sitting on the cats' medieval castle."

 Castle Mice for Christmas

Mom:  "There is something wrong with you.  Shut up now and fetch me the egg nog!"

## Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hello, gentle readers!  I have returned, emerging from a long, dark grading period that has left me...well, kind of bouncy and overexcited, if you want to know the truth.  No, I have no idea what's wrong with me, but I'm all hyped up from my frenzy of essay reading and ready to take on the world...or at least put up the Christmas lights.

So this past weekend, I dug out the lights, plugged them in, cursed at the ones that had committed suicide in the basement over the summer, drove out to buy more, searched and searched and searched and finally found the extension cords and the timers and the little plastic thingies that I use to attach, well, things, and after three or four hours, this happened:

 That's a snowflake in the window, not a flower.  Shut up.
Now, there I was, standing in my yard, looking at the results of all my labors, and do you know what I asked myself, beloved readers?  "Self," said I, "why are those lights blue?"  And as I pondered this question, I asked myself yet another:  "Self," persisted I, "why is that vertical strand kind of greenish?"  And, lo! my Self answered not, for I was stumped.

You see, on each of the boxes which contained these strands of lights was the word white.  I know, because I got out my flashlight, dug through the rubbermaid containers and checked.

No, I joke not.  I checked.

There was no green.  No blue.  No whitish.  No vaguely-pinkish-but-that-might-be-a-trick-of-the-camera.  No, my friends, on each and every box, spelled out quite clearly is the word white.  Now on one box, it is true, it says warm white.  Can you guess which strand had that rather comforting label?  Wrong!  It's the blue ones, which, I must tell you all, do not look even slightly warm to me.  In fact, that label seemed to be such an obvious mistake that I climbed upon the stepstool to touch the blue lights and see if by warm the manufacturer might be referring to temperature.

Yet again, I joke not.  Upon the stepstool I did climb.

The blue lights remain cool.  They look cool, as blue so often does.  But do you know, precious ones, what those blue lights are not?  They are not white

Now, I know what you're thinking out there in cyberville.  You're thinking, "Oh you fool!  Have you never used LED lights before?  Did you not know that you have to buy exactly the same brand with the same label all at the same time to get matching lights, even if that means buying entirely new lights every single year?"  And to that I respond:  No I did not know that.  And I damn well wish I didn't know it now.  It has leeched much of the bounciness out of my spirit and thrown a whitish cloud of disappointment over the holiday season.

But after much shouting and whining and vaguely hostile cursing, I did eventually find a way to regain my jollity.

I bought a new shower curtain.

## Wednesday, November 13, 2013

### Real Conversations with Mom: Academic Rank

Mom:  "You know, all of my dead aunts and uncles would be really proud that you're a full professor now instead of a half professor."

Me:  "A half professor?  There's no such thing as a half professor."

Mom:  "What are they called, then?"

Me:  "Assistant, associate, then full."

Mom:  "Well, I just made some people half professors.  I like that better."

Me:  "I don't think you have the authority to do that."

Mom:  "I gave myself the authority.  And I'm going to tell all of the dead relatives."

Me:  "Wait.  What?"

Mom:  "I will tell them that you are not a half professor anymore, and they will be really relieved.  Being a half professor sucks."

Me:  "Seriously, Mom?  It's been a couple of years now since I...what am I saying?  I was never a damned half professor.  You are making my brain hurt."

Mom:  "Of course, I'll be really proud when you're a double professor.  That will be a great day."

Me:  "There is no such thing as a double professor, Mom."

Mom:  "Well, that is not right.  What is your new president's name?"

Me:  "I am not telling you.  Isn't it past your bedtime?"

Mom:  "Do not get smart with me!  You are not a double professor yet!  And if you are not careful, I will make you my half-daughter.  Then your sister will outrank you."

Me:  "I am not having this conversation."

Mom:  "Too late."

## Monday, November 11, 2013

### Real Conversations with Mom: Knocking Things Over

Mom:  I would like you to do me a favor.  Would you do that?  Do your mother a favor?

Me:  I might.  It depends on the favor.

Mom:  You are so suspicious.

Me:  You are my mother.

Mom:  Okay, I don't like the way you said that, so I'm going to ignore it.  Could you please stop knocking things off of the shelf in the hallway?

Me:  Yes, I could do that.  But only under one condition.

Mom:  I do not want to hear about conditions.

Me:  I will stop knocking things off of that shelf if you stop putting things on it.

Mom:  It's a shelf!  You're supposed to put things on a shelf, not knock things off.

Me:  Yes, but I am a big klutz.  If you put things on a shelf, I will knock them off.  Probably lots of times.

Mom:  This is bullsh*t!  I want you to stop knocking things off of the shelf!  You are a grown woman.  Learn not to walk into things!

Me:  I really don't think that's in any way possible.  No, I can't.  The only way I could stop walking into things would be to stop walking.

Mom:  Fine!  Stop walking in the hallway.

Me:  But...

Mom:  I do not want to hear it!  If you can't stop knocking things off of that shelf, then you cannot walk in the hallway anymore.  The Queen has spoken!

Me:  No one ever talked to me this way in Special Gym.

Mom:  Maybe they should have!

## Sunday, November 10, 2013

### Merely Mildly Funny Facebook Posts

Honestly, everyone, you all need to step it up.  Nevertheless, here are the funniest facebook status updates that hit my feed this week; take a bow, my friends:

1. Note to self: must never, ever, ever call my son "buddy" ever again! Ever.

2. This looks DEADLY....my husband and children will love it!

3. Is there a cocktail that epitomizes your historical expertise?

4. I would like to announce that I've just been named the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.

5. HOW AM I GOING TO WATCH AGENTS OF SHIELD AND SLEEPY HOLLOW?!

6. Why do liberals hate and want to kill soft, fuzzy puppies with perky ears and waggity tails?

7. OK, about.com: what part of searching for "Crockpot chicken" recipes makes you give me ads for walk-in showers, belly fat, and heroin addiction?

8. Well.... I'm bored as hell

9. At least no advisees were harmed in the completion of the week. It was close, though.

10. I just said "And NO dramatic readings of the pizza menu tonight."

## Friday, November 8, 2013

### A Poem for Megan

My very most loyal blog fan, dearest readers, is Megan.  She not only reads this blog, but she passes it on to others.  Alas, poor Megan!  She has a terrible cold this week and not nearly enough sympathy.  Therefore, I have written her a poem.  With apologies to Tennessee Ernie Ford, I present you with "Sixteen Sneezes":

Most people say a virus gimme this cold
The pain and exhaustion have taken hold
They've taken hold and left me limp
With mind that's weak and a fever that's strong

You sneeze sixteen times, what do you get?
Another head throbbing and tissue that's wet.
Oh, children, don't you call me 'cause I can't go
My nose is a'drippin' and my brain is slow!

It was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine
I rose from my bed, and I thought I was fine
I sneezed sixteen times and I started to cough
And my husband said "Better take some time off"

You sneeze sixteen times, what do you get?
Another head throbbing and tissue that's wet
Oh, children, don't you call me 'cause I can't go
My nose is a'drippin' and my brain is slow!

It was worse next mornin', my nose drizzlin' rain
Hackin' and wheezin' are my middle name
I was dazed by the Nyquil that I drained last night
Cain't no antibiotic help me win this fight

You sneeze sixteen times, what do you get?
Another head throbbing and tissue that's wet.
Oh, children, don't you call me 'cause I can't go
My nose is a'drippin' and my brain is slow!

If you see me comin', better step aside
A lotta you didn't, outta stupid pride
One giant sneeze, a great big cough
If the first one don't a-get you
Then the second one will

You sneeze sixteen times, what do you get?
Another head throbbing and tissue that's wet.
Oh, children, don't you call me 'cause I can't go
My nose is a'drippin' and my brain is slow!

## Wednesday, November 6, 2013

### Pottery Injuries

Once again, dear readers, I am using the ice packs this evening.  This time I have injured myself in pottery class.  Again.  I find this really, really frustrating.  Here is a list of reasons why:

Six Reasons Why It's Really Frustrating
to Injure Yourself in Pottery Class

1. Centripetal force is a bugger.  See this:

$F = ma_c = \frac{m v^2}{r}$

Dudes, see that little 2?  That means squared.  Do you know what it does on a pottery wheel?  It means that if I speed the wheel up, the force goes up really a whole lot.  And if I try to resist it at the wrong angle, physics will kick my ass, resulting in injuries to the entire right side of my body.    Seriously.  Centripetal force is a bugger.  It will get you.*

2.  You cannot make a good story out of a pottery injury.  Believe me, I've tried.  Just today, a student said, "Dr. Grinnell, are you okay?"  And I thought for a minute and said, "No, I have this ice pack on my shoulder because I had to fight off alien ninjas trying to steal the leftover Halloween candy."  See, that makes a good story.  But this student gave me the Student Look of Scorn, and I caved:  "Sorry.  I hurt myself in pottery class.  Did you need me to sign that form?"  And my reputation as a bad ass melted away.

3. Your doctor will not respect a pottery injury.  He will shake his head and tell you to take ibuprofen and use rest and ice and heat.  He might even tell you to take a week or two off from doing pottery which is clearly not a reasonable course of action.  Certain doctors might even suggest that pottery is not the best hobby for you at which point you must remind him about the time you sliced open your thigh with the bypass pruners which caused much more bleeding than any pottery injury, including the time you sliced open your hand on the throwing batte.

Um.

Anyway, you will not receive empathy, let alone sympathy, from your doctor.

4. Your cat will not respect a pottery injury.  Just because all of the muscles from your neck down through your arm and back are screaming does not mean that you can let off petting him.  If you try there will be...consequences.

5. Your mom will not respect a pottery injury.   Not even a tiny, little bit.

6. Your colleagues will not respect a pottery injury.  They won't even pause in their conversation to say, "there, there" or "I hope you feel better soon."  Ask me how I know this.  Go ahead, ask.

Fine.  You can't have any more pottery.
--------------
*At lunch today, it was pointed out to me that it's probably torque, rather than centripetal force, that's causing my injuries.  Having spent fifteen minutes with my old high school physics book, I've decided that this person is probably right.  So, sorry, centripetal force!  Torque, you're a bugger.

## Tuesday, October 29, 2013

### Special Gym

One of my facebook friends asked me about my childhood this week.  He was looking for some kind of affirmation about what a miserable time gifted children have in school.

I disappointed him.

I loved school.  I loved almost everything about it.  I loved the smell of chalk in the classrooms and having my very own desk and cubby and getting a new lunchbox every year and the smell of paste and...oh!...library time.  Library time was the best! Visiting where the books lived!

It's possible that I was not a very gifted child, now that I think about it.  Who gets excited by the smell of chalk?

Now I wouldn't want you to think, gentle readers, that I was popular in school.  Alas, no.  I did not have cool clothes or the right haircut or the big, 64-count box of crayons.  You know, the one with the sharpener? Oh, how I wanted the Big Box of crayons! But we couldn't afford it, so I was stuck with sixteen lousy colors.  That sucked.*

No, I was a big nerd in school; I just didn't much care.  As long as there was a book near by, any book, it was all good.

I even liked gym.  No one ever picked me for a team, and I was lousy at every sport (except dodge ball), but I was lousy with enthusiasm.  I learned to play with enthusiasm and not care what I looked like doing so, and I learned this blithe unconcern in the second grade in Special Gym class.

What is Special Gym?  Well, Special Gym was a class for the deeply uncoordinated, although that's not what my parents told me when they explained that I was going to be taken out of math for a while.  What they actually said was, "You can't jump rope, apparently, and there's something about walking backwards that confuses you, so they're putting you in Special Gym.  Math can come later, once we're sure you're not going to accidentally knock a toe off trying to skip."

I might be remembering that last part wrong.  I was only seven.

Each day, when the other students started math, I would walk to the classroom door and wait for the Special Gym teacher to pass in the hallway.  Then I would join the short line of children and walk outside, around a corner, and into a whole other building with a tiny little gym room with padding all along the walls.  Then I would practice walking backwards, and jumping rope without falling, and, on special days, I would get to sit on this square wooden thing with four rollar skate wheels on the bottom and try to zoom the length of the room without falling off.  And if I went too fast or tripped or something, I would just bounce off of the walls or the big rolled up mats or one of the teachers.  Sometimes, I let myself lose control on purpose, just for the bounce.

It was fun.

And there were lots of teachers, now that I think about it.  Four or five, at least, and only eight or ten of us in the class.  And they always talked warmly and praised me even when I did something stupid like walk out of my shoes or accidentally smack someone while trying not to fall over.  And we were absolutely not allowed to make fun of each other.  Ever

You know, now that I think about it...hmmm...that was a pretty unusual class.  I never saw any of those other students outside of that class.

Some of them didn't follow directions very well.  Or talk, really.

Um.

Oh.

Well, the hell with it!  I loved Special Gym, and I can almost always walk backwards, and I will dance in circles if I want to or skip badly or take seven hits at a tee-ball before I connect and I don't care.  Point and laugh, precious readers.  Go ahead!  We veterans of Special Gym do not give a frak.

And I still love school.

*I have the Big Box of crayons, now, of course.  It was one of the first things I bought when I got a real, tenure-track job.

## Wednesday, October 23, 2013

### Five Attempts to Make Me Feel Better About My Cold

I have such wonderful friends and family; they all know how miserable it is to have a cold, mostly because I insist on telling them.  But when it comes to giving me sympathetic words, well, um, here's a sample of what people have told me today:

1. "At least a squirrel didn't attack you!"

2. "You know what would make your life a living hell, don't you?  If you give that cold to your mother.  Try not to do that."

3. "That's bad.  At least you didn't have vomit on you this time."

4. "No open wounds, though, right?  You haven't stabbed yourself in a long time!"

5. "Well, aren't you glad you don't have a cold in the middle ages?  You'd probably be dead by now."

## Tuesday, October 22, 2013

### I Do Not Like this [Autumn] Cold

I do not, do not like this cold.
The blowing, sneezing’s getting old.
My head aches and my throat’s in pain;
I think this cold has squished my brain.
Sneeze in the dark, sneeze in my tea!
Sneeze in the car! Cold, let me be!
I cannot leave this kleenex box.
I cannot find my fluffy socks.
I’m tired of huddling in this house
Just jiggling this computer mouse.
I’m tired of sneezing here and there.
I’m tired of sneezing EVERYWHERE!

I do not like
this summer autumn cold!

I do not like it,
[expletive deleted]!

## Thursday, October 17, 2013

### Disturbing Conversations from North Dakota

Me:  Wait.  What?

Michelle:  She sat the doll on the table, and we would talk, and every once in a while, she would tell me what the doll was thinking.

Me:  We're talking about a professor here, right?  One of us?

Michelle:  She brings the doll everywhere with her.  I didn't talk to it, of course, because I don't speak doll language.  She had to tell me what it was saying.

Me:  Uh-huh.

Michelle:  Actually, I might have talked to it once or twice.  But I didn't have to share my food with it or anything.  It had its own plate.

Me:  <pause> Well, that's a damned relief.  It would be terrible if a doll was eating off of your plate.

Michelle:  I'm not kidding.  This actually happened.  More than once.

Me:  Did you call someone?  A doctor maybe?

Michelle:  I knew that no one would believe me.  She also took the doll to a fabric store so that it could pick out new outfits.

Me:  You're frakking with me, right?  There's a camera somewhere in this room.

Michelle:  I swear, I'm not.  When I went to her house...

Me:  Stop!  You knew that this person thought that a doll could talk, that she gave it its own plate at restaurants, and you went to her house?

Michelle:  Well, she was assigned as my mentor.  Anyway, I saw that she has hundreds of dolls.  And boxes of doll parts.  Eyes.  And underwear.

Me:  Eyes?

Michelle:  Sometimes they need to change eyes.  But this isn't the best part.

Me:  I don't think I want to hear any more.

Michelle:  Yes, you do.  Her main doll, the one she took out, wanted a boyfriend.

Me:  A boyfriend?

Michelle:  Yes.  She consulted with the doll, and it turned out that it wanted a boyfriend with elf ears and long silver hair.

Me:  Like Legolas.

Michelle:  Exactly!  So after she got her tax refund, she had enough money to order the boyfriend.  And then the doll--who likes me, by the way.

Me:  Of course, it does.

Michelle:  The doll told me a bit about its sex life.

Me:  I really don't want to hear any more.

Michelle:  Really?

Me:  No, I've come too far now.  Proceed.

Michelle:  Okay, well, apparently the doll fell madly in love at first, and they went at it all the time, but eventually the elf ears weren't a turn-on anymore.

Me:  I suppose that can happen with elf ears.

Michelle:  So she had to order new replacement ears for the boyfriend doll.

Me:  This person teaches college students?  She has a Ph.D.?

Michelle:  She does.  There was even an article about the abduction of her teaching assistant.

Me:  Which was, no doubt, a doll.

Michelle:  It was.

Me:  [long pause]  Did it get a stipend?

Michelle:  I have no idea.

Me:  North Dakota is a very strange place.

Michelle:  Well, she's not from North Dakota.  It's not North Dakota's fault!

Me:  I apologize.

Michelle:  Good!  Now, let me tell you about the time a child on a plane reached into my sack and stole my balls...

## Monday, October 14, 2013

### Repacking for North Dakota

Hello, gentle readers!  Would you like to guess what I'm doing tonight?  I'm repacking for a trip to North Dakota.

Yes, I said repacking.  I've already packed.  Several times.

I'm traveling to the flickertail state* to give a talk on landscapes in Arthurian romance.  No, no!  The tickets are entirely sold out,** so stop right right now; I can't get you in.  Sorry.  You will have to suffer the pain and misery of never hearing my stimulating analysis of twelfth century romance ecology.  What can I say?  Sometimes, life's tough.

In any case, this particular bout of repacking is slightly the fault of my friend Michelle who, when I asked about the weather, told me that it would be "high 60s, even very low 70s, during the day; 40s at night," so that's what I packed for the second and third times that I packed the suitcase.

(The first time doesn't count because I packed the wrong suitcase altogether.  Obviously, I can't take my blue suitcase to give a talk in North Dakota! It has to be the black suitcase.  I have no idea what I was thinking.  Sorry about that, denizens of the Peace Garden State.***)

Anyway, I love and trust this Michelle, but apparently I trust weather.com more because I kept checking it, and it says to expect highs in the low 50s and possible rain.  Naturally, I can adapt to cooler temperatures, but even the suggestion of precipitation means that I had to change my shoe plans quite thoroughly.  And once you've changed your shoe plans, well, the rest of the ensembles must be reconsidered as well.  Moreover, I've had to consider (and reconsider and rereconsider) whether or not to include a small travel umbrella, which is not a decision one makes haphazardly.  I mean, there are weight limits these days, and my past experience has shown that Delta will not let me get on the plane wearing a jacket with two pairs of shoes in the pockets even if they fit perfectly well, dammit.

Delta may be a fine company, but it does not understand the importance of appropriate footwear.

Meanwhile, I have to find just the right piece of pottery to bring this Michelle and her beloved husband Adam, taking into account their decorating preferences, our long friendship, and her failure to warn me of a slight chance of precipitation and the possible Footwear Crisis that might have ensued.

It's taken me a glass of wine and two glasses of raspberry iced tea to figure it out.

Anyway, I still have to figure out pajamas and slippers and fold each of my robes and stick it on the bathroom scale to see if I can get any of them in the suitcase without exceeding the weight limit or sacrificing a pair of shoes.  So I'm likely to be at this all night, and I just wanted to ask you folks:  would any of you will be willing to do my repacking for me the next time I go on a trip?  I can pay you in pottery.

*According to the Official Portal for North Dakota State Government, "Flickertail refers to the Richardson ground squirrels which are abundant in North Dakota. The animal flicks or jerks its tail in a characteristic manner while running or just before entering its burrow. In 1953 the Legislative Assembly defeated Senate Bill (S.B.) No. 134 that would have adopted the Flickertail facsimile as the official emblem of the state."  Which was a lucky thing, based on the behavior of the squirrels I know.  They are just waiting for a chance to take over.

**I lie, of course.  It's by invitation only.

***"The International Peace Garden straddles the international Boundary between North Dakota and the Canadian province of Manitoba. In 1956 the North Dakota Motor Vehicle Department, on its own initiative, placed the words Peace Garden State on license plates; the name proved so popular that it was formally adopted by the 1957 legislature (North Dakota Century Code (NDCC), Section 39-04-12)."  You're welcome.

## Friday, October 11, 2013

### Real Conversations with Mom: Science Fiction is a Bad Influence

Mom:  Wait.  Why do they want to kill him?

Me:  Because, um, she has a new personality, and he goes around and kills people each time she shows up, but if they kill him now that can't happen.

Mom:  She has a new personality?

Me:  She's Lexi now, but last season she was Audrey.

Mom:  Did she get hit on the head?

Me:  No, she went into a barn.

Mom:  A barn?

Me:  A disappearing, reappearing barn that is apparently dying.  When she goes inside, she gets a new personality.

Mom:  From a barn

Me:  Yes.  Sort of.  Stop looking at me like that.  Seriously, don't look at me that way!

Mom:  I will look at you any way I want.  I have a little broken hand, I am the queen of this house, and if you don't unload that dishwasher tonight, I will put you in that barn!

Me:  Mother

Mom:  Into the barn you will go!  And I will get a daughter with a new personality.  And lots of money.

Me:  I don't think you should watch science fiction anymore.  It's giving you bad ideas.

Mom:  Into the barn!

## Saturday, October 5, 2013

### Real Conversations with Mom: A Discourse Dispute on I-85

Me:  Mom, would you do me a favor once we get back?

Mom:  Maybe.

Me:  Please stop telling people that you broke your hand because I beat you.  Someone is going to call the police.

Mom:  I'm not lying.  You do beat me.

Me:  At backgammon.

Mom:  You still beat me.

Mom:  Okay.  But I'm telling everybody that you wet the bed.

Me:  I did not wet the bed!

Mom:  Yes, you did!  You wet the bed and turned the sheets blue!

Me:  Mom!  I got on the bed in a wet swimsuit cover-up, and it bled all over the sheets.

Mom:  Yes!  And I had to sleep on the sofa because you wouldn't sleep in the blue wet spot.  So I'm telling everyone you wet the bed.

Me:  You know, I could start beating you.

Mom:  You know you won't.  I'm too cute.  And I have a poor little broken hand.

Me:  How does your poor hand feel today?

Mom:  It feels bad sitting next to a bed-wetter, that's how it feels.

Me: <sigh>

## Wednesday, September 11, 2013

### Overheard in My Office This Week

"These just don't look edible to me, even if they were real."

"Wait, I get it!  The horizontal stripes mean you clear a horizontal line!  How do I get horizontal lines?"

"What is a 'jelly' anyway?  Is it like a gummy worm?  I hate gummy worms."

"I wonder if they would taste like their colors:  purple is grape, etc?  You want me to sign what?  Okay.  So how do you think these would taste?  If they were real, I mean."

"This is pretty addicting, actually.  But the music is annoying."

"Okay, what is with Level 70?  There is no way to clear this level.  Hey, [innocent colleague / victim], have you tried Level 70?  Level 70 of what?  Never mind."

"Level 70 is evil.  I will look up hints on the google before class.  Hmmm..."

"Hi!  Sure, yes, I can lend you that book.  Did you know that if you don't like your board, you can exit from the game without losing a life?  You just said 'yes,' but you actually have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?  Just take your book and go."

"The google is no help.  There is no way out of Level 70."

[shouting] "That's it!  I am not playing any damn game in which chocolate is the enemy!  That's just sick!"

[one hour later]  "Oh, I have three more lives! Level 70, here I come..."

## Saturday, September 7, 2013

### Real Conversations with Mom: Respectability

Mom:  "I want you to steal that guy's hat for me."

Me:  "You're always encouraging me to commit crime.  I can't do that."

Mom:  "Why not?"

Me:  "Because I'm a respectable citizen."

Mom:  "Well, I'm not, and I want that hat!"

Me:  "Thief!"

Mom:  "You steal pens."

Me:  "I do not!  I've only taken a pen by accident."

Mom:  "Accident?  Not me.  I look at the pen, and if it's a nice pen, then I take it."

Me:  "Wait.  You don't do this on accident?  You deliberately steal people's pens?!"

Mom:  "Only if they are nice.  But sometimes I don't have to.  I just say, 'Oh, that is a nice pen!' and people give them to me."

Me: "So you are sneaky and a thief."

Mom:  "No, I am cute, so people give me things.  Deal with it."

## Sunday, September 1, 2013

### Real Conversations with Mom: At the Local Diner

Mom to Waitress:  "Oh, you poor sweet baby!  Mice got into your closet and chewed holes in your jeans!"

Me: <cringe and attempt to activate cloaking device>

Mom <not using her inside voice>:  "You know, I look better in my t-shirt than she does."

Me:  "Mom!  That's rude!"

Mom:  "It's true, though."

Me:  "Why do you think you look better in that shirt than she does?"

Mom:  "Because I have big boobs."

Me: ?!

Waitress:  "That's okay, she's still my favorite."

Me:  "I do not understand."

Mom:  "What's to understand?  I'm wonderful.  And I have big boobs."

## Wednesday, August 28, 2013

### So How Did Your Morning Go?

So, gentle readers, I am once again feeling out of sorts with the universe.  Here is a summary of my morning.  Please forgive me for the lack of subjects for my verbs; I just don't have the energy for real sentences tonight.
• 3:15am: hit alarm clock to stop it from ringing.  Get up.  Bang knee into open dresser drawer.  Fall down.  Discover that it is 3:15am.  Check to see that alarm is set correctly. Go back to bed.
• 3:30am: hit alarm clock again.  Shake it viciously.  Go back to bed.
• 3:45am:  scream obscenities at alarm clock.  Realize it is actually my cell phone that is ringing.  Answer it.  Turn down offer for exciting Florida vacation.  Go back to bed.
• 4:00am:  bolt from bed.  Put cell phone on silent.  Go back to bed.
• 6:30am:  Get up, not feeling refreshed and ready to meet the day.  Pour cup of hot tea in mug.  Attempt to pick up mug.  End up with only mug handle.  Stare in confusion.  Pour tea into small cereal bowl instead.
• 8:13am:  walk from car to office building.  Gasp and duck as campus hawk dive bombs me instead of campus squirrels.  Spill briefcase on the sidewalk while ducking.  Endure vicious taunting by campus squirrels.
• 8:17am:  curse when pressing electronic car key does not open office door.  Drop keys.
• 8:18am:  sigh deeply when house key also fails to open office door.  Spill briefcase outside office door.  Unlock office door and trip over spilled briefcase.
• 8:20am:  Sit on office floor contemplating giving up and going home.
• 8:22am: Make foolish decision to soldier on.
• 8:26am:  Break off file cabinet key in desk drawer lock.  Pry broken  half of key out of lock.  Avoid looking at now permanently locked file cabinet.
• 9:15am: knock dragon off of bookshelf, breaking it into three pieces.
• 9:21am:  accidentally photocopy 30 copies of 1-page handout upsidedown, resulting in 30 pieces of blank paper.  Rearrange original.  Photocopy again.  Get 30 more blank pieces, this time collated and stapled into five documents.  Decide to go paperless today.
• 9:28am: cut foot stepping on pieces of broken dragon tail.
• 9:31am: accidentally spill box of bandaids all over the floor. Pick them up, one by one.  Knock them over again reaching for bowl of tea.
• 9:45am:  give up and go to campus meeting where it's safe.  Probably.

## Tuesday, August 27, 2013

...and thank you, everyone, because I really needed them to distract me from the alarming sounds of my giant dead trees being cut down at last.

1. ...of COURSE that's where they keep the really cool wicker shotgun their lesbian great-great-aunties used to shoot a dude who clearly needed shootin'.  I mean, right?
2. I have a new phobia! Wolf attacks.
3. I really appreciate the incompetence around me this morning.
4. AND THERE ARE CRABS RUNNING FREE.
5. I just met our Cengage rep, and he's just a little feller!
6.  Please, god, forgive me, I like a Miley song.
7. I can hardly be bothered. It is August, after all.
8. What are the odds that someone else had a bat on his face within the last week?
9. The peppers they were selling were gorgeous, if genderless
10. Mmm. This worm is good.

## Thursday, August 15, 2013

### The Week's Funniest Facebook Statuses

Er, I think the title is self-explanatory, but this has been a very strange week in my facebook feed, gentle readers, and I just had to share some of the crazy with you.  All status updates taken completely out of context, of course:

1. Gettin' my hair cut!
2. Winning a $140 lotion for coming to training camp? 3. There are times I wish I were an archaeologist!! Or a badger. 4. I do not sweat well. 5. Someone please send this clueless bastard to my house, that I may bite him in the kneecaps repeatedly and without mercy. 6. What I'm trying to find out, for real, is if it's too early to go to bed. 7. Ugh is this all we have this is godly shampoo I can't use this 8. I just bought a small printing press. I believe I am dammed for all eternity. 9. Is there Puppy and Me yoga? 10. Ferrets are sweet and soft, folks! ## Wednesday, August 7, 2013 ### Does Anyone Else Know How I Feel? So, do you, darling readers, know how it feels when your beloved mom kindly takes you to the garage to pick up your car after an oil change, and even though it is a more-or-less clear day and you've been going to this same garage for a decade, you take one step, catch your incredibly cute silver sandal in a crack in the cement, and then plunge to the ground, smacking your right knee harder than it, poor joint, has ever been smacked before? And you know how you lie there on the burning concrete hoping that the sound you hear is the TARDIS arriving to take you back in time ten minutes to when you thought you knew how to walk? Even though you know that you're not supposed to cross your own timeline or something but you can't think about that right then because your knee is sending fiery bursts of pain up and down your leg? And then, you know how it feels when you realize that noise is actually your mother gunning the engine as she drives off leaving you wounded and alone? And probably maimed for life? Remember how that feels? And tell me you know how it feels when your pretty-good-looking mechanic rushes over to try to get you to your feet when you really just want to roast for a while on the concrete and curse yourself for daring to walk in public, but you feel compelled to try to stand up so that he doesn't have to call the paramedics like the last time you did this (though you were bleeding that time and the bloodstains never really washed out and you still hope that's not why they moved the garage to a different location). You know this feeling, right? And I'm sure you remember what it's like when you've been icing your knee for three days and are celebrating that you can walk again (sort of) by having a nice drink and destroying three months of junk mail, but then you find out that some junk mail is sharp and that you can burn out a paper shredder by bleeding all over it and then dropping a gin and tonic into its teeth? I mean, I can't be the only one to feel that feeling or smell that smell, right? I mean, c'mon beautiful readers, tell me you empathize here? You've been there, right? And since I know you know how I feel, please tell me that you too have had to explain the loss of a favorite mug and the bandages on your wrist because you dropped a ten dollar bill into your hot tea when you spilled your purse into the bathtub...this is a perfectly normal thing that everybody goes through at one time or another right? A relatively normal thing, then? A thing that happens? Or that you hear about happening? Maybe? ## Friday, August 2, 2013 ### Things I Have Learned from Dr. Who 1. The Prime Directive is bosh, the Temporal Prime Directive, even more so 2. Choose your accessories carefully: excessive scarves, bits of celery and jaunty bow ties bring a note of whimsy, but fezzes will not be tolerated. 3. Anti-intellectualism will not defeat the Great Intelligence 4. Getting where you need to be is more important than getting where you want to be. 5. Fix the cracks in your walls. Now. 6. The ability to make a proper tea automatically gives you Top Secret clearance and an introduction to the resident extra-terrestrial 7. Always carry a screwdriver. Unless you have a good lipstick. 8. Do not commit genocide. The universe doesn't like it. 9. Don't blink. 10. Size matters, but mostly on the inside. ## Thursday, July 18, 2013 ### Real Conversations with Mom: The Power Outage Mom: What are you doing? Me: Looking for the emergency lantern. Mom: I think it's in the bedroom. Me: It's not. Mom: Yes, it is. Me: It's not. I know it's not. It's green. Mom: What difference does that make? Me: If there were a green lantern in my bedroom, trust me, I'd know. --------------- Mom: What are you doing? Me: Trying to get to sleep. Mom: No, you are not. You are playing a game. Talk to me. Me: It's 2:00am. Mom: That's no excuse! Talk to me, or I will kick ass! Me: Sometimes I wish I did have a Green Lantern in my bedroom. Mom: Sometimes I wish you were a normal child! ---------------- Mom: What are you doing now? Me: Reading a book. Mom: Why are you reading on that computer? Me: Because my eyes do not glow with a soft luminous radiance like Stella's. Mom: Who is Stella? Me: I'm pretty sure she was a relative of Darkseid. The beamy black eyes are a dead giveaway. No idea how Sidney got involved. Mom: You can stop talking to me now. ------------- Mom: Are you awake over there? Me: I am now. Mom: Let's go honky-tonkin'. Me: It is 2:40am. Nothing is open at this hour. And I need to get some sleep. Mom: You are so boring. Hey, let's go [inappropriate content deleted]! Me: It is 2:43am, and I spent the emergency fund on the kitchen floor, so I don't have any bail money. Go to sleep, dammit. --------------- Mom: Hey, did you vacuum up that mess? Me: No. Mom: Why not?! Me: The power is out. Mom: Oh. Right. That's a pretty good reason. ---------- Mom: Are you still awake? Me: No. Mom: I'm thinking it would be cooler on the front porch, but I don't want to get dressed. Can I go sit out there like this? Me: Are you naked? Mom: Maybe. Me: Please put on shoes first. ## Thursday, June 27, 2013 ### Oddly Comforting Sales Call Phone Salesperson: "Hello! Have you considered the value of adding siding to your house?" Me: "I'm sorry, my house is brick, and bricks are prettier than siding." P.S. : "Is it brick all the way through or a brick façade?" Me: "What does that have to do with its prettiness?" P.S.: "Well, siding..." Me: "I have to go teach a class, but let me ask you this: do you sell siding that looks like a giant rainbow flag? Because I might be interested in that for my shed." P.S.: "You know, several people have asked me that today." Me: "Good." ## Saturday, June 22, 2013 ### Real Conversations with Mom: Big Bang Theory Mom: So is he famous or something? Me: He's Wil Wheaton. Mom: And he beat this other guy up when he was little? Me: No, he didn't show up for a Star Trek convention. Do you know who Wil Wheaton is? Mom: No. A Star Wars guy? Me: He played Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Mom: Okay, now I understand. [pause] Me: You don't know who Wesley Crusher is, do you? Mom: Well, no, but I wanted you to stop telling me. [pause] Mom: Alright, you can go ahead and tell me. Me: Okay, so Captain Picard... Mom: Just wait a minute while I turn off my hearing aid. Me: You are so mean. Mom: I didn't know that. Tell me more. Sigh. ## Sunday, June 16, 2013 ### Nothing is Where It's Supposed to Be (and the Cats Are Very Angry) Okay, so, well, there's nothing to report here. Seriously, nothing. Well, no, a friend of mine was startled by bunnies and injured her leg badly enough to need ice and sympathy and a link to my parody poem from February which made me feel all warm and tingly because someone else understands that bunnies are dangerous, dammit. And then I felt guilty for feeling all warm and tingly due to someone else's pain. And then I felt better because I felt guilty, which is not, I think, the purpose of guilt. But all of this is a mere distraction from the fact that nothing happened here which is darned upsetting because what was supposed to happen was the kitchen floor getting torn up and a new floor put down and a new dishwasher installed and a new garbage disposal likewise installed and then many adult beverages consumed in celebration. But not only was the floor not torn up and replaced or the appliances installed, but--and this is the really frustrating part--the wine cabinet is inaccessible due to the white cabinet and the refrigerator now living in the dining room. Do you understand, my beloved readers? The refrigerator is in the dining room, and the microwave is in the living room, and the dining room table is filled with stuff from the kitchen cabinet and the coffee maker is in the damn bathroom, and I cannot open the wine cabinet. And before you ask, yes, I could go buy more wine, but where am I going to put it? I can't use the coffee table because that's where we have the silverware and the gin and the tea bags. The fireplace is out because we had to move the cat dishes there to the great displeasure of the cats who keep wandering into the empty kitchen, looking around, and then vomiting right where their food bowls are supposed to be. My bedroom would be a good place for the wine except that I have thirty pieces of pottery and twice that many books piled on every available surface waiting to go back into the kitchen or dining room or my home office. Mom's bedroom is full of cat toys and paper towels. There are dvds and cookbooks piled in my home office where they don't belong, along with the spice rack and a stack of skillets and all of the oven mitts. There are too many oven mitts, by the way. If you need some, let me know, and I will send them to you as soon as all of this is over and the food processor is not blocking access to the desk where we keep the mailing supplies. The hallway is a dangerous maze of laundry, shoes and teapots. I mean, great silver cylons, just talking about this makes me want to get into that wine cabinet! Which I cannot do. So I'm sipping a nice glass of unsweetened iced tea and pretending it's malbec. I'm doing deep breathing and visualizations of ponds and beaches and libraries. But let me be very clear about this: if nothing continues to happen this week, there will be boxed wine on the front porch where I will sit in my pyjamas listening to old Hank Williams songs and dreaming of the days when I could eat at a table in my own house. ## Wednesday, June 5, 2013 ### Joy and Woe (and Joy. And Woe.) I have a confession to make, precious readers: I hear voices.* Two voices, specifically. One of them is optimistic, always looking on the bright side of things, chirping around like a damn robin. The other is...not. In times of stress, these voices become more passionate, more argumentative, and more likely to disturb me when I'm watching season 2 of the Sarah Jane Adventures.** To purge myself of their sniping, I am posting one of their dialogues to this blog. Feel free to heckle if the spirit moves you. Voice A: "Woe unto me, for the dishwasher has sprung three leaks and ruined the kitchen floor!" Voice B: "Rejoice and be glad! For I have homeowner's insurance!" Voice A: "Woe unto me! The policy does not cover this, for, lo! a slow leak is a 'maintenance problem.'" Voice B: "Rejoice and be glad, for the dishwasher is a mere three years old!" Voice A: "Woe, serious woe! The warranty expired six months ago." Voice B: "Rejoice and be glad, for we have an emergency fund!" Voice A: "Woe unto me, for we will have it no longer!" Voice B: "Rejoice and be glad, dammit, for we know a good plumber who charges a reasonable price!" Voice A: "Woe unto me and unto that plumber, for he has died!"*** Voice B: "Rejoice and be glad, for my neighbors, the awesome ones, they have found a good contractor!" Voice A: "Woe unto me, for good contractors are expensive!" Voice B: "Rejoice and be glad, for I can (barely) afford him! And, lo! I didn't like that flooring in any case!" Voice A: "Woe unto me, for I did like that dishwasher, dammit." Voice B: "Rejoice and be glad, fool! There is a company that makes dishwashers that shut off when they leak!" Voice A: "Oh, woe and more woe, for that dishwasher costs twice what I wish to pay!" Voice B: "Rejoice and be glad, for it still costs less than a new floor!" Voice A: "Woe unto savvy consumers, for this company receives mixed reviews on the internet!" Voice B: "Okay, you have to rejoice and be glad about this one: that dishwasher has a utensil drawer which is Excessively Cool!" Voice A: "Woe unto me, idiot, for that utensil drawer adds$100 to the price of that dishwasher!"

Voice B: "Rejoice and give thanks, for Mom, she desires that utensil drawer!"

Voice A:  "Woe unto Mom, then, for she is not paying for that dishwasher!"

Voice B:  "Er, you had better rejoice in that utensil drawer, or Mom will Kick Ass."

Voice A:  "Woe unto me yet again, for I fear the ass-kicking from Mom, as a squirrel took me down not a day ago."

Voice B:  "Rejoice and...wait, what?"

Voice A:  "Woe, for he appeared out of nowhere, and I missed a step, and my ankle, oh painful woe! It was twisted!"

Voice B:  "A squirrel?  Seriously, you were injured by a squirrel?"

Voice A:  "Lo!  Where are your rejoicings and your commands to be glad now?!  That squirrel has undone us both!"

Voice B:  "Seriously?!  You know, sometimes I have no idea what I'm doing in this brain with you, you know that?  I mean a damn squirrel!  I can't deal with this.  I'm going to go watch Big Bang Theory."

Voice A:  "Dude.  It was a pretty vicious squirrel."

Voice B:  "Shut up."

*No, I am not schizophrenic; I am an English professor, and I am laying a serious metaphor on you dudes.  Watch now, there may be a quiz.
**The spinoff of Doctor Who that is not Torchwood.  The one, that is, that you can't even pretend is for adults.
***He did die, and all three of us liked him, alas.

## Sunday, May 19, 2013

### Real Conversations with Mom: Excerpts from Finals Week

Mom:  You said you cleaned up this room.  What exactly did you clean up?

Me:  See those books on the coffee table?

Mom:  Yes, and they are still there!

Me:  But now they're alphabetized.

Mom:  I am going to beat you with both fists.

******

Mom:  Why do you keep wrinkling my clothes?

Me:  They come out of the dryer like that.

Mom:  Only if you leave them in the dryer overnight.

Me:  You could always iron them.

Mom:  You could sh!t on a stick!

******

Mom:  You are worrying the hell out of me.

Me:  They are not going to fall.

Mom:  You have four books and a cup of tea and a bunch of pens and a gradebook all balanced on top of one another...they are going to fall.

Me:  Well, if they do, the books will still be alphabetized.

## Monday, April 29, 2013

### Things Jumping Out of Pies

Greetings, precious readers!  Yes, I still have my cold, and the grading is piling up, but if I don't take a break once in a while, I start to write comments on the papers in Middle English and/or watch reruns of Teen Mom 2, and neither of these is good for my state of mind.

Instead, I thought I would share my current weirdity with you.  What is a weirdity?  It's something weird that keeps preying on my mind.  A weird entity:  a weirdity.

My weirdity of the week is the four and twenty blackbirds baked in the pie in "Sing a Song of Sixpence."  It seems, beloved readers, that

[pause while I sneeze repeatedly, curse, and find a new box of tissues; without menthol, dammit]

there are actual instructions in a renaissance Italian cookbook for putting live birds inside a cooked pie crust so that when the dinner guest cuts into the crust, he or she is surprised by the birds flying out.

I've been thinking about it, and, aside from the obvious animal abuse, this does not seem like the kind of surprise that would be greeted with delight.  In fact, I suspect that should I serve such a dish to my own guests, there would be screaming and cursing and heart palpitations followed, of course, by two cats racing insanely around the house trying to catch two dozen birds all at once.

Also, those birds would poo everywhere.

And then there is the disappointment factor.  I mean, when you slice into a pie--now please correct me if I'm wrong here--what you really want is, well, pie.  In fact, I would venture to say that almost all of the pleasure of cutting into a pie crust consists in the anticipation that your actions will result in obtaining actual pie.  It's not like me opening the litter box and finding it filled with squirt guns instead of cat feces; that would be a lovely surprise, and if anyone would like to break into my house and plan such a surprise, well, I'd like to encourage the hell out of you.  Just make sure that you do it right before I'm planning to change the litter box because if the cats find squirt guns where they expect litter they will go and poo in my bed.

Which would not be a pleasant surprise.

[hack, wheeze, sneeze, use inhaler]

What was I talking about?  Oh, the weirdity.  Obviously, this filling-a-pie-crust-with-live-animals idea (called an entrement, if you really must know), did not survive as a form of entertainment, but I have been wondering for at least the past week or so what, if I could not have pie in my pie crust, would be most fun to find inside of it instead (pie still being, as noted above, the preferred contents of a pie crust).  And I have reached a conclusion:

Robots.

Yes, robots.  If you cannot have pie in your pie crust, then it should contain robots, tiny little robots that start walking and beeping and scaring the cats and grading papers and changing the litter box.  Four and twenty robots, baked in a pie!  Now that is a damned delightful dish to set before a king.  Or, better yet, me.

Now you all know what to get me for my birthday next year:  robot pie surprise.  You're welcome.

## Friday, April 26, 2013

### Why I am a Pain When I Have a Cold

1. The tea is too damn hot.
2. This blanket is itchy.
3. The tea is icky and lukewarm.
4. I have to go to work today, and I don't want to.  And there are no fishy crackers to take as a snack.  I was going to give a quiz, but I don't want to grade any quizzes, so there will be no damn quizzes today!
5. Someone stole my pillow from my office!  What do you mean, I threw it out?  I did not!  Oh, yes, that happened with the pens.  Maybe I threw it out.  Dammit, I stole my own pillow from my office and threw it out!  I suck.
6. These are not the right tissues.  I wanted the ones with the menthol.  Yes, they do.  YES, they do.  Dammit, I've bought them before, stop arguing with me and get me my menthol tissues!
7. The tea is too damn hot.
8. They do not sell pillows in the campus bookstore.  Not comfy ones that fit on my desk.  No, this Riverside Chaucer is not comfortable, but I threw out my pillow, and I don't have anything else, so just shut up please and go away.
9.  Hah!  Here is the thunder-tea!  I will drink the thunder-tea and go to my afternoon meetings!
10.  The thunder-tea tastes like bilge.  And it's too damn hot.

## Saturday, March 9, 2013

### Real Conversations with Mom: Watching the Today Show

Mom:  Look what they're doing to that pig!

Me (glancing up from grading):  It's surfing.

Mom:  That's terrible!  That pig does not look happy.

Me:  It's surfing.

Mom:  Does that pig look happy to you?

Me:  I am not an expert on the facial expressions of pigs.

Mom: Wait a minute. [pause]  Wait a minute.  [pause]  I've got to think up some smart ass answer to that...

## Monday, February 25, 2013

### Upon Being Startled by a Bunny One Evening

Upon Being Startled by a Bunny One Evening Returning from Pottery Class

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous bunny,
O, what a panic's in me breastie!
Thou ought na make me start sae, honey,
A knocking me off a' ma feet!
I could na try to rin an' chase thee,
I' the murd'ring sleet!

This porch is truly ma' dominion,
Thou've broken nature's social union,
An' earned from me an ill opinion,
With this cruel twitchin'
Of ears.  Thou, poor earth-born companion,
Are somewhat bitchin'!

I doubt na, whiles, but I may rise;
What then? poor human, great of size,
Me achin' big toe in such pain!
'S a sma' blessin',
Ta get a bandaid and refrain
Wi' mo' bunnies messin'!

My brand new leggins', too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin
An' rainin', now, to tear and rip 'em
Richt at the knee!
An' bleak February's winds ensuin,
Rainin' on me!

Thou saw the grass and hill an' trees,
But drizzly weather comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the eaves,
Thou thought to dwell-
Till crash! this human being passed

That wee bit patch o' flowers in boxes,
Has suffered mony a weary nibble;
Now thou's tripped me, for a' my trouble,
On the earth cold.
To sit in winter's sleety dribble,
All bleedin' on the mold!

Ah, Bunny, thou art now my bane,
For attacking me in my own lane!
The best-lit paths o' stone terraine
Slip aft in rain,
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
On this freezin' plain.

An' thou art blest, compar'd wi' me
Thou hoppin', twitchin, rabbit, thee!
For, Och! I backward cast my e'e.
Landin' on my rear!
An' aftward, tho' I canna see,
The bruisin' brings a' tear.

## Sunday, February 3, 2013

### If My Cat Spike Wrote My Course Syllabi

This is the last one.  I promise.

If My Cat Spike Wrote My Syllabus

 Him Who Must Be Obeyed

Course Objectives
Students should achieve an understanding of the elements of fiction, an appreciation of the literary value of the texts covered, and the ability to write and speak about them with clarity, insight and eloquence.

If successful in this course, you will learn the proper way to serve a feline master.  You will feed me.  And pet me.  And pet me more.  Unless I'm tired of you.  Then you will go away.

Attendance Policies

All students are required to attend all scheduled classes, meetings and conferences. Please refer to your Wofford College Student Handbook for the official policies and procedures regarding absences. In my classes the following procedures will be followed [blah, blah, blah, specific numbers of absences permitted, etc, etc]

You will be here whenever I want to be fed.  Or petted.  You are not allowed to leave the house except to buy more food.

Class Participation and Decorum

My classes do not include class participation scores; however, because all of the courses that I teach are relatively small (under twenty students), failure to participate in class damages the overall course community. Students are therefore required to participate through class preparation, attentive listening, and written and oral responses. Moreover, students are expected to avoid behavior that undermines or interferes with the participation of other students or distracts the professor.

You will sit in such a way that a lap is always available if I want one.   You will keep access to all windows and doors clear and make sure that there are comfy spots in front of all of the heating registers.

The grading scale below is used to determine final grades for all of my classes. Students may request their current course average by coming by my office; such an average, however, will not include work turned in but not yet graded. It will also not include any absence/tardiness penalties. I will not send any grades over e-mail, as this is not a secure method of communication.

F:  You feed me and give me water once or twice a day.
D:  You feed me and give me water once or twice a day and give me lots of pettings.
C: You feed me and give me water once or twice a day and give me lots of pettings and provide catnip mice to eviscerate.
B: You feed me and give me water once or twice a day and give me lots of pettings and provide catnip mice to eviscerate, and you share your meals with me whenever they smell yummy.
A:  Empty boxes!

Late Assignments
If you are unable to turn in an assignment on time because of a documented illness or family tragedy, you will not be penalized for turning in work late, provided you present your written excuse within one week of returning to class. If you must turn in work late for other reasons, you be subject to the following penalties:

If you are late getting home from work, I will vomit in your shoes.  If you are late cleaning the litter box, I will pee in your bed.  Do not be late.

Damage to a student's personal computer or lack of access to the internet will not be considered as excuses for submitting an assignment late unless there is a campus-wide or region-wide failure.  Late penalties will apply to files submitted late for individual technological errors.

If you try to use anything with a screen or a keyboard, I will climb onto your lap and rub my face in yours until you put the infernal device away and pet the kitty.

Extra Credit
I sometimes offer classes opportunities for extra credit. These assignments are meant to deepen your appreciation for a subject. Extra credit is always class-wide; I do not give private assignments to individual students, as that would be unfair.

If you buy tuna, I will share some with you.  Maybe.
Probably not.

## Saturday, February 2, 2013

### If Tim Gunn Wrote My Course Syllabi

Obviously, I can keep this up all weekend, folks:

If Tim Gunn Wrote My Syllabus

Course Objectives
Students should achieve an understanding of the elements of fiction, an appreciation of the literary value of the texts covered, and the ability to write and speak about them with clarity, insight and eloquence.

Make it work, people, make it work!  Give them that electric shock that sends Nina's shoes across the runway!

Attendance Policies

All students are required to attend all scheduled classes, meetings and conferences. Please refer to your Wofford College Student Handbook for the official policies and procedures regarding absences. In my classes the following procedures will be followed [blah, blah, blah, specific numbers of absences permitted, etc, etc]

Andrae?  Where's Andrae?

Class Participation and Decorum

My classes do not include class participation scores; however, because all of the courses that I teach are relatively small (under twenty students), failure to participate in class damages the overall course community. Students are therefore required to participate through class preparation, attentive listening, and written and oral responses. Moreover, students are expected to avoid behavior that undermines or interferes with the participation of other students or distracts the professor.

We are fabulous. We don't have to meet anyone fabulous.  But few things make me angrier than people not taking good care of library materials.

The grading scale below is used to determine final grades for all of my classes. Students may request their current course average by coming by my office; such an average, however, will not include work turned in but not yet graded. It will also not include any absence/tardiness penalties. I will not send any grades over e-mail, as this is not a secure method of communication.

Just have it be exuberant.

Late Assignments
If you are unable to turn in an assignment on time because of a documented illness or family tragedy, you will not be penalized for turning in work late, provided you present your written excuse within one week of returning to class. If you must turn in work late for other reasons, you be subject to the following penalties:

This concerns me.

Damage to a student's personal computer or lack of access to the internet will not be considered as excuses for submitting an assignment late unless there is a campus-wide or region-wide failure.  Late penalties will apply to files submitted late for individual technological errors.

This is a make-it-work moment.

Extra Credit
I sometimes offer classes opportunities for extra credit. These assignments are meant to deepen your appreciation for a subject. Extra credit is always class-wide; I do not give private assignments to individual students, as that would be unfair.

What are you thinking?  This is such wretched excess.  And Jackie O would not have camel toe.

### If Batman Wrote My Course Syllabi

Because I'm feeling like a costumed superhero today.

If Batman Wrote My Syllabus

Course Objectives
Students should achieve an understanding of the elements of fiction, an appreciation of the literary value of the texts covered, and the ability to write and speak about them with clarity, insight and eloquence.

Students are a superstitious cowardly lot, so my class must be able to strike terror into their hearts.  I must be a professor of the night, black, terrible... I have questions. You will answer them. Or else.

Attendance Policies

All students are required to attend all scheduled classes, meetings and conferences. Please refer to your Wofford College Student Handbook for the official policies and procedures regarding absences. In my classes the following procedures will be followed [blah, blah, blah, specific numbers of absences permitted, etc, etc]

You will come to class.  Every session.  On time.   Don't test me.

Class Participation and Decorum

My classes do not include class participation scores; however, because all of the courses that I teach are relatively small (under twenty students), failure to participate in class damages the overall course community. Students are therefore required to participate through class preparation, attentive listening, and written and oral responses. Moreover, students are expected to avoid behavior that undermines or interferes with the participation of other students or distracts the professor.

Your life could end here, now, and nobody would ever know. Would anyone even miss you? Tell me, what's your life worth, punk... ?

The grading scale below is used to determine final grades for all of my classes. Students may request their current course average by coming by my office; such an average, however, will not include work turned in but not yet graded. It will also not include any absence/tardiness penalties. I will not send any grades over e-mail, as this is not a secure method of communication.

You don't seek justice. You seek an easy A. They're not the same. You have no regard for intellect. So I'm grading you.

Late Assignments
If you are unable to turn in an assignment on time because of a documented illness or family tragedy, you will not be penalized for turning in work late, provided you present your written excuse within one week of returning to class. If you must turn in work late for other reasons, you be subject to the following penalties:

The rain falls on murderers and madmen, the same as it does on innocent children... and it can't stop a due date.

Damage to a student's personal computer or lack of access to the internet will not be considered as excuses for submitting an assignment late unless there is a campus-wide or region-wide failure.  Late penalties will apply to files submitted late for individual technological errors.

What are you dense? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the Batman.

Extra Credit
I sometimes offer classes opportunities for extra credit. These assignments are meant to deepen your appreciation for a subject. Extra credit is always class-wide; I do not give private assignments to individual students, as that would be unfair.

I'm Batman.  Not Santa Claus.